RISING star Billy Joe Saunders is in for the biggest test of his fledgling professional career when he takes on Bradley Pryce on Friday night.
That is the verdict of Pryce’s trainer Gary Lockett as the 31-year-old from Newbridge looks to become a two-weight Commonwealth champion.
Pryce, who now has ten defeats on his record, was relieved of his light-middleweight belt by Matt-hew Hall in 2009 and is desperate to do the same to middleweight champ Saunders at London’s York Hall.
And, according to his trainer Lockett, he has every chance of upsetting the odds and handing former Olympic star Saunders his first defeat as a pro.
“Bradley is in very good shape,” said Lockett. “He only had two weeks notice before beating Patrick Mendy in March but he’s been in the gym ever since.
“He’s on the weight and very confident and I believe if he can stay with him for the first five or six rounds Bradley will give him a very good test.”
Highly rated Saunders, from Welwyn Garden City in Hertford-shire, is nine years younger than Pryce and won the title by stopping Southampton’s Tony Hill inside 30 seconds at the Royal Albert Hall last time out.
But Lockett is not totally convinced by Frank Warren’s latest prospect, who is 18/1 on to beat Pryce with some bookmakers.
“We’ve not really seen anything of Billy Joe Saunders,” he added.
“He’s impressed me at times but other times I’ve watched him and thought ‘is he as good as everyone says he is?’ No disrespect to him but he still needs to prove he can be a top fighter and this will be a big test for him.”
The fight is live on BoxNation TV on Friday night and tickets costing £60 are available on 01992 550888.
The undercard sees super-middleweight Frank Buglioni take on Jody Meikle and Stephen Smith face Jose Luis Graterol at super-featherweight.